A week after their former boss, State Senator Shirley Huntley, pleaded guilty to embezzlement cover-up and falsifying evidence, three co-defendants have followed suit.
Huntley pleaded guilty on Wednesday, February 13 after nearly $30,000 in taxpayer dollars went missing; her co-conspirators, Patricia Savage, Lynn Smith and David Gantt, entered their pleas a week later.
Savage and Smith confirmed their roles in an illegal member item theft scheme and a cover-up involving a sham nonprofit group, Parent Workshop, in which they claimed to use funds to hold workshops and conduct outreach to parents about the public school system. Instead, the pair pocketed the money, and there were no workshops. Gantt pleaded guilty to falsifying records claiming that he was paid for conducting these workshops, when he never did so, according to the attorney general’s office.
“There are no excuses for public officials and their associates who game the system to line their pockets, and then engage in a brazen cover up when their crimes are exposed,” said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
Schneiderman also said that state taxpayers will be fully reimbursed for the stolen money.
Savage and Smith agreed to pay the state of New York the exact amount of money taken. Gantt was not charged with taking any of the funds.
“There is no place in public service for those who enrich themselves at the expense of taxpayers,” said Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. “These individuals defrauded the public.”
Savage and Smith are scheduled to be sentenced on Wednesday, March 27 and Gantt on Friday, March 29 in Nassau County Supreme Court. If convicted, they will maintain a felony charge on their records and serve five years of probation.